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Many Canadians have joined the United Nations' celebration of the International Year of Freshwater to raise awareness of the many ways we are dependent on this vital resource. However, one aspect of freshwater usage is often overlooked. As Canadian healthcare systems fail us, freshwater hot springs may become even more important to our daily well-being. You might even consider moving near a hot spring if you suffer a chronic condition.

Mineral rich hot springs are said to bring relief to sufferers of rheumatism and arthritis. Physiologically, hot springs are reported to promote the elimination of impurities through the skin, bowels and kidneys.

One small interior British Columbia community, Harrison Hot Springs, has built up around hot springs that were originally used by the Salish Coast Indians who revered them as a "healing place" and who traveled long distances by canoe to use the rejuvenating waters. There are two hot springs at the south end of 40-mile-long, 900-foot-deep Harrison Lake: the "Potash" which has a temperature of 40°C (120°F) and the "Sulphur" which has a temperature of 65°C (150°F). The beneficial waters average 1,300 parts per million of dissolved mineral solids, one of the highest concentrations of any mineral spring. Analysis of the hot springs indicates that there are 8 different minerals: Potassium Chloride, Sodium Chloride, Sodium Sulphate, Magnesium Sulphate, Calcium Sulphate, Calcium Bi-Carbonate, Iron Bi-Carbonate and Sulphurated Hydrogen.

Although Harrison Hot Springs are not the only hot springs in British Columbia, they are the best known because of their relationship to the Harrison Hot Springs Resort which has attracted such famous guests as the King and Queen of Siam, Clark Gable, John Wayne, Sydney Poitier and Sylvester Stallone to it's famous Copper Room.

The Harrison Hot Springs Resort boasts 2 indoor and 3 outdoor mineral pools. One indoor sitting pool is cooled to a temperature of 38° - 40°C (100° - 103°F), an ideal temperature for promoting the relief of general aches and stress. Outside, one adult swimming pool has hot spring waters piped from the source and cooled to 32° - 35°C (90° - 95°F).

Many people who buy condominiums or new homes in the Harrison Hot Springs area are also attracted to the mountain setting, fabulous sand beach and legendary fishing (which Includes sturgeon that average 400 pounds and 14 foot lengths – catch-and-release only now as these slow-growing fish live to more that 200!). Whether it's the challenge of the surrounding wilderness or the colourful lure of this historic stop on the Cariboo Gold Rush trail that first catchs your eye, residents say that once you've visited Harrison Hot Springs you have to return.

When you're considering relocation or a new recreational home, don't rule out the move as a way to improve your health and well-being at the same time.

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